growing dinner

It has been a while since I have written...death of a woman I love so much, family reunion...now I am HOME.

:: :: ::

To me, living sustainably isn't about organic food and recycling. I mean, it kind of is, but my life sustainable means eating local food that is in season and reducing the amount of recyclables I produce. A big part of this for me is growing my family's dinner. So, I have been working my tiny urban plot for years and I think I finally have it figured out (or almost) so that I am not just growing tonight's dinner, but I am growing food to live on when the soil hardens and the green fades to gray.


It has taken practice and thoughtful planning to make this happen in my 20x15' garden. My goal: Planting successive crops at the exact right moments so the harvest keeps coming. I am definitely still learning and inevitably grumpy with stupid decisions I make. Like, planting my carrots in many short rows across a long skinny bed. That makes the soaker hose placement look like a lame contemporary line drawing.


In March I planted arugula, peas and greens. It was a bit early this year because of our seemingly never ending winter. But the seeds fared just fine and came up as soon as they were given the chance.

In April, I harvested all of the arugula and greens and pulled those bolted plants to make room for beets, spinach, radish, lettuce, carrots, potatoes, onions, more peas (LOVE peas). After danger of last frost (or so I thought), I planted tomatoes, peppers, cabbage, eggplant, basil, winter squash and beans.


Now we wait and harvest. I love picking spinach and peas straight from my plot and, after a quick whirl through the food mill, bug gets dinner. We also have radish and a few more weeks of rhubarb and strawberries. If I had wed in May or June, I would have carried a giant bouquet of rhubarb.


I think I would have been a good homesteader. But I would have had a hard time without essential items like my hairstylist and refrigeration.


ah. it's warm.


It finally feels like summer round here. We are dining on radish and spinach. I picked four peas yesterday and there are all of the sudden dozens more today. The firm, raw-green strawberries are established and ready to mature. The arugula is bitter and bolted. It feels warm and hopeful but Montanans tread cautiously in their flip flops for fear of another winter sucker punch. I think we're safe.

In nature, the balsamroot is just finishing up its giddy presentation and the lupine show is beginning. Last weekend, we stayed at a friend's cabin up the Blackfoot and I was struck by the (nearly) weedless beauty. Andy was repeatedly annoyed with me as I kept shrieking about how nutty people are rip this ecosystem up in favor of sod tidy golf and croquet. Can you believe people avoid this? And CHOOSE to water lawn and iris, I would say (apologies to the iris lovers. I think they look like egotistical men who wrongly think they are cool). I really don't get it. I have a feeling in 50 years, those club sport officianados will regret it too.

Alice totally prefers native landscape.


So blah blah, we all know I think lawn us super lame. In other news, it is currently 73 degrees outside and that really makes me happy. Today is my kid's six month birthday so that's cool. There are tiny apricots on trees and we have the ittiest tomato on a plant in my back yard plot.

My chickens are doing pretty damn swell. Bossy is still really bossy and I think Clementine is my favorite. If Andy'd let me, I'd cuddle with her at night. Although Ida is super sweet too. She is just a bit less affectionate. Bossy is a pill and doesn't like to pose for the camera.



music a meme

So these things can be fun and I was tagged by black swamp girl and I am not the type to just not respond to a challenge. But I am the type to add a new twist.

List seven songs you are into right now. Tag seven other people to see what they are listening to.

List seven albums you were into ten years ago.

My current seven in no particular order (song, artist, album):
  1. All I Want is You; Barry Louis Polisar; Old Dogs, New Tricks. Anyone getting married soon? Please dance to this song.
  2. Ideoteque; Radiohead; Kid A. Melts me it is so beautiful
  3. Fidelity; Regina Spektor; Begin to Hope. Her voice rocks.
  4. This Must be the Place; Talking Heads; Best of. I love to dance to this song. It is old but will probably always be in my top seven. Reminds me of college and dancing at the Union Club with my friend John.
  5. Where Is My Mind?; Pixies; Surfer Rosa. Maybe the greatest song in my lifetime.
  6. Tree Hugger; Kimya Dawson; Juno Soundtrack. LOVE HER.
  7. Pure Imagination; Maroon Five; Mary Had Little Amp. I dig kid albums that I like to listen to too.
My 10ish-year-ago seven (artist, album):
  1. Sublime; Sublime. Andy and I listened to this album as we drove up the Beartooth Pass on our first kinda date but not really, eleven years ago tomorrow.
  2. Indigo Girls; 1200 Curfews. My girlfriends and I knew every single word to every song. We would drive around with the windows down (when gas was a lot cheaper and you could still meet people at the airport gate) and scream this album.
  3. Tori Amos; Under the Pink. I still love her so much. I dance with bug to Tori all the time.
  4. Van Morrison; Best of. When Andy and I had been dating a few months, he had me over to his house and made me calzones. He put this album on. We made out and I will always love this album.
  5. Bjork; Homogenic. She is another timeless star in my life. I have a giant crush on her.
  6. Willie Nelson; Live. I met Willie Nelson because my ma in law produced a concert in Red Lodge, MT a few years back.
  7. Moby; Play. I haven't listened to this in a while because I think I got my fill over a two-three year period when I played this album at every dinner party. Andy may have hidden it from me, actually.
OK, so now these seven get to play:
somewhere between a handshake and two kisses
Flash Pointe
A Drivel Runs Through It
Finny Knits
The Root
Grow it. Eat it.
Enjoying the Small Things

I'd love to hear from others too--List your seven in the comments.

ps Sunny and hot in Montana. Pics and juicy garden gossip soon. Off to the warm, wormy dirt.



We have a heavy snow warning in Montana today with three to five inches of snow expected in the Missoula valley. Hey, George, climate change is real.



it's cold

Calling for a frost tonight. Damnit. I covered my tomatoes. I will risk the rest mostly because I can't find anything else to cover the plants unless I use sheets or something and it is pouring rain and super muddy. It really chaps my hide that there is one blue bag--screws up the whole aesthetic. But I haven't bought plastic bags in years so it was a scavenger hunt to see what I could find in the garage. I was simultaneously annoyed and impressed that we don't have any plastic bags under the roof.

The good news is the spinach, peas, radish, potatoes, beets, onions, rhubarb and lettuce are celebrating.

Instead of thinking about the fact that it effing snowed this morning and the current temperature is 39 degrees and I am wearing a scarf, I'd rather think about the babe gifts I made last weekend. More onesies for my procreating friends.

I am obsessed and I think I am getting better at designs and such. But that chicken needs a little outline to her comb and feet. The first one I made was better. I picked the wrong fabric; it shouldn't have any white spaces. I think I'll add some red thready outline and it'll work. I am quite pleased with the ice cream cone, modeled after a really expensive kid shirt I saw in a catalog. It was a bitch but turned out cuter than a bug's ear.


just when you think you have it all figured out

OK, so that movie. The Secret. I liked it alright. It had a good message; one I really believe. Simply that you can't really have something until you believe you can have it. My man finds the entire concept to be some sort of cult-like infomercial but I know this: you can't go through life as a impossibilitist because then you can never do things like run a marathon, have a baby, meet the man of your dreams or.......have the School of the Art Institute of Chicago call you this morning and say they are willing to defer your admission for one more year.


I had applied to only one graduate school, SAIC. I got in and promptly found out there was some cell division occurring in my uterus. Normally not a reason to not go to school but Andy is in an apprenticeship program here in Montana and my going to Chicago was going to force us apart for two years. And that just doesn't work with a bug. So, I deferred my admission for one year knowing that I still couldn't go this fall because Andy still has two years left but I thought, well, I thought, something will work out because it always does.

And I got a call this morning--before I even had my coffee--from a number I didn't recognize and usually I never answer those numbers but I answered and it was the School asking me if I was planning to come to Chicago this fall. I said I had changed my mind and Michael asked why so I told him my story of bug (not the whole story just that I have one) and that I understood that I was only allowed to defer for one year. To which he said hold on there, I think I can pull some strings or something to that affect.

I wrote this a little over a year ago:

My man and I are pregnant and I am excited, sure, but I didn't pick this. And sometimes when things pick you, it takes a while to absorb. And I fully absorbed it yesterday when I saw the ultrasound and a tiny flashing light that I am told was the heartbeat. It wasn't an epic moment for me or it was...but not how it I am told is was going to be. It was really neat but not life changing. I felt simultaneous excitement, anxiety, love and loss.

So I am committed to not feeling how I am supposed to feel and just letting myself feel how I feel. And I feel a little sad that I can't move to Chicago. That I won't ever move there like I was planning: alone, wide-eyed, afraid and pulsing. Now I will move to Chicago after my husband is done with school and with a kid, a dog, two cats and a house full of stuff. It will be beautiful and perfect. Everything is different now.

And so here I am in this role of future mama and dealing with all that the universe is dealing me including tons of judgment surrounding my seeming choice to use my uterus instead of my brain.

To all you gardeners, runners, artists, moms, professionals: I declare that I choose both

I don't think I could have really understood how profoundly my life would change with the grand entrance of Margot Bea last December, quite possibly the best thing that has ever happened to me. Since her birth, I have thought many times I wonder what I'd be doing right now in Chicago? Walking the city streets, espresso in tow, with my new art school friends, talking about the current trends in contemporary art theory. Then I look at bug and that seems so far away, not impossible, just not my reality. I am getting a different kind of higher education.

Realistically, I may or may not go to Chicago but I am electrified at the thought that it still an option for me. It was an exciting jolt this morning. I asked her what she thought of moving to Chicago for two years and she smiled, stuck her tongue out and made a raspberry. Sounds like she's in.


happy birthday to me


I turned 30 in February. So far, I really like my 30s. My parents bought me a new camera for my day and it just took me a while to decide and then it took me a while to make the purchase. I consulted with my bff Paige because she knows everything about taking bring-you-to-your-knees photos and we landed on this camera that I still don't know how to use but I am using it and I feel empowered and giddy and, well, like a total badass with my new friend. Thanks mom and dad.



So, my potatoes were a bit slow to emerge but they are up and gorgeously dark and leafy. I added the second tire to my stacks and more dirt. It really does take a lot of dirt so I think I'll have to buy some so I can stop stealing the precious medium from my other beds. I was running all about my yard taking shovels full from here and there and I imagined my plants saying hey, bitch, that's for MY roots. I have a history with that soil. You can't just take part of my soul and give it away to the new spud on the block.

I do often think about my different plants and their personalities and voices. What would a bush bean say to a purple cabbage? You and your show offy, ditsy foliage. You are narcissistic. I, on the other hand, carefully conceal my treasure. My modesty is only interrupted when the time is right. And then, everyone is impressed with my thick-skinned, bold, phallic fruit.

I put everything in the ground last weekend. My peas are growing like an inch a day. Radish are ready to be harvested. Spinach are up. Carrots, beans, cabbage, purslane, tomatoes in the dirt. I still have to get the peppers in but I think I'll wait until my early greens are gone. My arugula and greens bolted because it was really effing cold for a long time and then 90 degrees and the poor bastards didn't know what was happening so they just started blooming and climbing toward the sun. The good news is that they still taste great.

I planted some raspberries. I got a tiny sunburn on my back. Bug hung out in the saucer and danced as I weeded and spread compost. Lilacs are in ripe bloom, the cats rolled in the hay that paved my garden paths. It was a good and overdue weekend in the dirt.

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